I wanted to clear up a few things about my perspective on Senator Ted Cruz, our on-air conversation and how the media is covering this.
Ted Cruz is a dear friend and my hope is that we will always be dear friends. He is a tremendous senator for the great state of Texas, and I look forward to voting for him in 2018.
Cruz's endorsement of Donald Trump is his to make, and I really do not begrudge him his choice. I know the senator well, and I know this was not an easy decision for him, nor one he took lightly.
As it relates to my endorsement of Senator Cruz, if you go back to the radio show or the transcript, you will see/hear/read very clearly that I was NOT suggesting that in hindsight I SHOULD have endorsed Senator Rubio. It was far more nuanced than that (and I think far more clear than that). I think the transcript says it all, but just in case --- here is the point I was trying to make.
Ted is one of the most decent men I have ever met. He is objectively brilliant --- even according to the "liberal" professor/lawyer Alan Dershowitz. He comes from a good family that cares about our country and our Constitution. He has a number of amazing qualities as a man and as a senator. But, like all of us, he has his weaknesses.
As a "politician," he could be better. To many onlookers, he does not come off as approachable or real (though --- and I truly mean it --- he is much different in person). He does not instantly connect with people, especially at a distance. He is eloquent, but in a very academic way. As someone explained to me, if you want someone to argue in front of the Supreme Court, he is as good as it gets. But if you want someone to make your case in front of a jury of your peers, you could probably do better.
In my opinion, Senator Cruz has one quality that very few people in politics have, that for me was and is more important than all else. Principles. When people would make the argument that Senator Cruz is self-interested or self-aggrandizing or a me-first politician, I would argue with them and defend Senator Cruz as a man of supreme principles with no give and a backbone of steel.
On the other hand, there's Senator Rubio --- a strong conservative, though not AS strong as Cruz. BUT, he is a tremendous politician. He is charismatic, interesting, interested and all those soft qualities that great politicians have.
If I was going to endorse a politician, meaning someone who was conservative/constitutional/libertarian ENOUGH --- AND who had an easier path to the White House, I would have endorsed Senator Rubio (someone I could have easily pulled the lever for --- as well as others, like Senator Paul and others).
But I did not want to endorse a politician. I never have and never will.
I believe(d?) Senator Cruz was different. (I put the "d?" because I do not know nearly enough at this time.) That does NOT mean I don't admire the man. That does NOT mean he's not a great Senator. That does NOT mean he wouldn’t make a great president. And that does NOT mean I wouldn’t vote for him for all of the above. But, once you remove the unshakable and unmovable principles from his quiver, he is a politician --- which is fine, just not someone I would endorse in the primaries, nor campaign for.
As a reminder, I had NEVER before endorsed someone in the primaries. This was a unique experience for me.
The endorsement itself was hard on me for a number of reasons --- and these are MY issues, not the Senator’s and not anyone else’s. I won’t get into all the details on this topic (there is a lot to unpack), but these are my main concerns:
1) Are we to vote our conscience or is it a binary choice?
Cruz's sudden push to vote for Trump seemed like a dramatic shift from his previous "vote your conscience" clause (which is fine, it is his choice). However, I also felt like it was a slap in the face to people like me, who understand the calculus (it is ultimately binary since one of these candidates will be the president), but who reject the premise we HAVE to choose.
Again, this is not Cruz's fault I feel this way, but this is how I feel (and what I projected onto him) and why I reacted as I did.
2) What changed?
From my perspective, nothing has changed since the courageous decision to not endorse Trump at the RNC. Everything the senator has listed as reasons to endorse Trump now were known to him then. I would have been much more comfortable with the change of heart if Cruz said he prayed on it (which I know he did), he and his family forgave Donald Trump (as an aside, did Donald ask for forgiveness?) and #neverhillary. Okay.
I have said for a long time now, I do not know the right answer. I am very comfortable with people like Governor Jindal, Mark Levin and many others saying, "Trump is not a conservative, there is a lot I don’t like about him as a candidate or a possible president, but he is better than Hillary."
I am still not comfortable with my choice and might never be. I am sickened that I don’t have someone I am willing --- let alone want --- to vote for.
With all of that said, I do not repudiate nor regret my decision to both endorse and campaign for Senator Cruz. I don’t like where we are today (all of it) and know we would be in a far better position if Senator Cruz was the GOP nominee.
This election has been hard on all of us (on both sides of the aisle and beyond). If Ted and I can’t figure out how to stand together 100% of the time just because we only agree 95% of the time, then the two of us have some work to do --- on ourselves and as friends.
Featured Image Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (R) speaks to members of the media as radio talk show host Glenn Beck (L) looks on at Morningstar Fellowship Church February 11, 2016 in Fort Mill, South Carolina. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)